Hayden Leslie Panettiere (pronounced /ˌpænɨtiˈɛər/; born August 21, 1989) is an American actress and Grammy-nominated singer. She came to professional prominence at the age of 10 with her portrayal of Sheryl Yoast in Disney's Remember the Titans, although for five years before that, Panettiere had held roles in two soap operas. She portrayed Sarah Roberts on One Life to Live from 1994–1997, and Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light from 1996-2000. Panettiere reached a wider audience with her starring role as cheerleader Claire Bennet on the NBC television series Heroes.
Panettiere was born in and partly raised in Palisades, Rockland County, New York, the daughter of Lesley R. Vogel, a former soap opera actress, and Alan L. "Skip" Panettiere, a fire department lieutenant. Panettiere, whose surname means "baker" in Italian, is of Italian descent. She has one younger brother, fellow actor Jansen Panettiere.
Although Panettiere attended South Orangetown Middle School in New York, she was educated at home from the 9th grade through high school. For now, Panettiere is postponing higher education in favor of an acting career.